Monday, February 05, 2007

Abstract Index Playlist - January 31/07


End tables not yet available at IKEA...
India's motion picture output has long been celebrated as the most prolific in the world. Nevertheless, there have been comparatively few collections of filmi music which go beyond an introductory or greatest hits approach. The musical range of composers like R.D. Burman and Laxmikant-Pyarelal is stunning, but only the most famous of their works ever seems to be given any consideration outside of genre fans - who, it should be noted, are in the billions.
A new six-volume collection put out by German label Normal should turn heads.
The first comp, and the name of the sub-label established for the series, is "Bombay Connection", focussing on the funky side of the film industry. This collection achieves everything a good compilation ought to do. It presents a coherent theme, collects brilliant music, provides extensive and insightful liner notes, and packages it all up beautifully. I can't think of another Bollywood comp which has gone to the same extent as this one to showcase the music within.
These are not big hits. A Bollywood fan where I work commented on companion volume "Bombshell Baby of Bombay" that the first few tracks 'put her to sleep' because the sound quality was of a typical sixties vintage and ...no hits. But for the novice who's looking for Indo-funk, this delivers the goods, and in a refreshingly un-exotic style. Every element of the role of funk in Indian cinema from the early seventies until 1984 is examined. As usual, the changing subject matter of films at the time was a factor; many of these songs accompany scenes in which characters turn away from traditional values and get involved in drugs and sex - funk as a moral judgement hasn't been a factor in the USA since the word 'funk' lost its negative connotations somewhere in the late 60s. Other uses of funk were, predictably, in chase scenes and title sequences. Often the composers delegated the incidental music of this sort to their arrangers; Uttam Singh is namechecked as a "hidden force of Bollywood".
Because of the wildness associated with context of loose morals and stock-footage car chases, these tracks burst with showy creativity. The usual hundred-member orchestras co-exist with synthesizers, twangy guitars (the Duane Eddy guitar tone featured on last week's track absolutely makes the song) and funky electric bass which was somewhat of a novelty at the time. Liner notes feature the film titles, song titles, composers and assistants or arrangers together with synopses of each scene, production notes and special instrumental touches by no-longer anonymous Indian Funk Brothers.
Then there are the graphics - original posters, movie stills, and wardrobe exaggerations (see above).... Altogether, this package and its companion celebrate the ingenuity, production processes, and artistic context of these songs as much if not more than the music itself, highlighting above all the genius of these tracks, not their mere novelty. This comp compares favourably to the scholarly collections of Carl Stalling's work for Looney Tunes cartoons at Warner Brothers.
international four - tyft (skirl)
one - david mott quintet (music as energy)
rhythm dance - kieran hebden/steve reid (domino)
lost pt 1 and 2 - neon tetra (noise factory)
colores estranos - DO (six degrees)
guachi guara - cal tjader rmx by carl cox (concord/picante)
pyar chaiya keh paisa - charanjit singh (normal)
negro en sol menor - dogliotti (vampisoul)
better change your mind - william onyeabor (afrostrut)
keep on trying - LTG exchange (deep beats)
free soul - john klemmer (cadet)
invincible - lal (PTR)
corteno a elena - jeremy ellis (ubiquity)
tu bola lo quita - alex cuba (caracol)
a day in vienna - dexter gordon/slide hampton (ricky tick)
hepcat revival - dead cat bounce (innova)
ana - vieux farka toure (world village)
full experience - aurra lewis & full experience (heartbeat)
ain't no meaning - wayne smith (vp)
i'm ruling - josey wales (prestige elite)
jah lick we - michigan and smiley (soul jazz)
rise up - ghetto priest (on-u sound)
stronger - tony tuff (minor 7 flat 5)

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2 Comments:

Blogger The Danimal said...

Hi - would it be possible to get a recording of the interview you did with William Parker recently? If it is, please contact me at dan at soundslope dot com

thanks!

2:43 PM  
Blogger Dacks said...

hey Dan - I'm afraid not, I didn't record it and CIUT only maintains full audio logs for one month.

sorry...

3:03 PM  

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